A Fast Lane to Fun at the WaKeeney Mini Speedway

The summer racing season is here, and our kart drivers are ready for the checkered flag to fall! Racing fans have already descended on the WaKeeney Mini Speedway, with two races already completed in April and May. Don’t miss out on the rest of the season!

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Racing in the 2019 Season

The official start to the season began in late April, but with six more races on the 2019 schedule there is plenty of time to get to know the racers and watch as the season finds its stand-out competitors. Here’s a rundown of the dates and times for each race.

     June 15 (6pm): Points Race
     June 29: Predator Series Race & Fireworks Points Race
     July 13 & 14: Maxxis Maxx Daddy
     August 10 (6pm): Points Race
     August 24 (6pm): Predator Series Race
     September 28: Last Points Race
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Exciting Events

This year’s schedule includes the exciting two-day Maxxis Maxs Daddy kart racing event on July 13thand 14th. Sponsored by kart tire manufacturer Maxxis, their tires are specially made to handle dirt tracks in any condition and provide a safer, faster race for our drivers. Come out to the track on race days!

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Racing for Everyone

Several different classes are featured at each race, with trophies awarded to winners of each class. The classes include:

     ROOKIE (Age 6 – 8)
     Junior 1 NON Points Class (Age 8 – 12)
     Junior 1 POINTS Class ( (Age 8 – 12)
     Junior 2 NON Points (Age 12 – 15)
     Junior 2 POINTS Class (Age 12 – 15)
     Adult STOCK HEAVY (Age 16 – UP)
     Adult CLONE HEAVY  (Age 16 – UP)
     OPEN  – Age 16 & UP

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A Family Event

A day spent at the WaKeeney Mini Speedway is a great activity for families. Join us in the stands and around the track with free entry for the public. Or purchase a pit pass to visit the drivers and see the karts up close.

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The WaKeeney Mini Speedway is conveniently located at the crossroads of Hwy. 40 and Hwy. 283, just north of the I-70,128 Exit. Check out their website for more information about the races, the schedule, and rules for racing. Announcements about track conditions and updates on the races can be found on their Facebook page.

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Plan Your 2019 Kansas Road Trip with Kansas Tourism Experts at the Trego County Historical Society Museum

As part of its yearlong Golden Anniversary celebration, the Trego County Historical Society and Trego Travel & Tourism will be welcoming two tourism experts from the Kansas Sampler Foundation to share stories of the people, places, and activities found in their book, the Kansas Guidebook 2 on June 9th at 2pm at the museum.

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Kansas Explorers

Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe have spent four years visiting every one of the 626 incorporated cities in Kansas. In their guidebook they detail stories, tips, and images from the road that are meant to stir your curiosity and get you excited for a summer of fun in the Sunflower state.

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“We will take the audience on a picture journey through the state, sharing road trip ideas and telling stories about our adventures,” said Penner, “From restaurant suggestions to art, architecture, history, geography and more, we’ll give you a sampling of what to see in Kansas.“

The guidebook offers a wide array of interesting stops to explore, including historic sites, specialty shops, little known points-of-interest, cemetery finds, bike trails and backroad scenic drives statewide. “There really is something for everyone,” Rowe tells us. “Whether you are looking for outdoor sites or ways to get to know a town.”

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After the program, the co-authors will sign and sell the Kansas Guidebook 2. The 480-page, coil-bound book can be used to plan your next Kansas road trip. The 4,500 entries provide descriptions, directions, hours, and contact information and there are more than 1,600 color pictures. You’ll even find information about our Trego County treasures!

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Penner and Rowe are founders of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, who’s mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture. The guidebook is a helpful tool they offer people who are interested in the history of our state and want information and tips to plan their own journey across the state. “Though the book reads like a travel guide, it’s intended to help people get to know the state and learn about Kansas towns of every size,” Penner states.

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A New Collection at the Museum

The museum is also currently featuring a unique souvenir china collection dating the early 20th century and donated by Harold and Marcia Newcomer. The collection includes an array of pieces that will join the collection of souvenir china this is already part of the museum’s exhibition.

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Join Us!

Ride along with authors Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe when they present their Kansas Guidebook 2 at the Trego County Historical Society Museum on June 9th at 2pm. Their insights will help you plan your next Kansas adventure!

Celebrating Memorial Day Weekend at Cedar Bluff State Park

Camping season is here, and Cedar Bluff State Park is ready to kick off the summer with an all-day event to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend!

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The lake is up one foot since April 30 and continues to rise every day or so. As of May 12, the Lake elevation is 2126.80. It has recently hit another official lake foot marker and is now up nine-feet! Soon the Cove 1 boat ramp, a ramp that hasn’t been used in years, will be put back into use. It’s the perfect time to spend a relaxing weekend at Cedar Bluff State Park!

On May 25th, the Saturday before Memorial Day, Cedar Bluff’’s park rangers are hosting a park party for the families of Trego, Ellis, and other counties. Games, food, and a day of fun in the sun are waiting for you at the lake!

Memorial Day Weekend Party (Saturday May 25th)

Compete in informal outdoor games, like horseshoes, cornhole, bladder ball, and outdoor Twister, or sign up to be a part of the beach volleyball tournament right on the lake’s sand beach.

Briney Motorsports will be performing jet ski demonstrations throughout the day with the best and newest water craft. You can also find out more about their new boat rental service.

Throughout the day there will be four food trucks serving delicious food and treats to keep you cool. Our fishing pond is open, too, so don’t forget your bait and tackle! The kids will love spending time on the shore waiting to hook “the big one” with their mom and dad.

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The evening will close with a dance party under the stars. DJ Willy Will is on the schedule to play the best in pop, rock, country, and the golden oldies, and you can dance the night away with your special somebody.

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Set Up Your Campsite

Plan to spend the long weekend at the lake!

Cedar Bluff State Park has two campgrounds. The Northside camping area is a social area, with paved streets and a neighborhood feel, while the Southside offers a more private experience for those who want to really dive into that country feeling. RV hookups are available at both camping areas. Spots fill up fast, so be sure to reserve your Northside campsite before Tuesday for Friday camping.

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Spend your Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 25that Cedar Bluff State Park! It’s the best way to start a summer filled with fun outdoor adventure and great memories with friends and family!

Note: Vehicle permits are required. Life jacket rentals are now available through the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner program and check out the Cedar Bluff State Park’s Facebook page for updates to the schedule and information about the park.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Trego County Historical Society

Documenting history for future generations plays an important role in a community. It creates a civic record and defines the characteristics that bind us as a community. In 2019, the Trego County Historical Society  celebrates its 50th anniversary as the guardians of our collective history with a year-long series of events, beginning with an open house on Sunday, May 5that 1pm-4:30pm.

Trego County Historical Society

The History of the Museum

The Trego County Historical Society, the governing body of the museum, was established on April 23rd, 1969. The first official meeting occurred on May 5th when the Articles of Incorporation were written and nine directors were elected. The leadership team was made up of President S.W. Gibson, Vice President Ray Purinton, Secretary Alveda Adams, and Treasurer C.S. Kolacny. Other board members were Walter Tawney, Warren Hardin, Rudy Spitsnaugle, Newt Tidball and Hilda Halbleib.

With a mission to bring together people interested in the county’s history, Historical Society members vowed to discover, collect, and preserve the history of the area through articles, books, pictures, letters and artifacts.

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Today’s Collections

This year, the museum will be hosting many special events and programs that will highlight the best of the Trego County Historical Society’s work. To start this anniversary year, an open house is scheduled for Sunday, May 5th, the same day the Historical Society was created fifty years ago.

Trego County Historical Society

During the open house you can tour the museum and see the many artifacts collected over the past five decades, including the Purinton collections in the new Kenny Hacker Gallery. Donated by Leonard & Irene Purinton and Ray & Leona Purinton, the two exhibits contain prehistoric fossils, a western tack and gun collection, tools, pottery from the Purinton Pottery Company, and an array of other artifacts.

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The Trego County Mural

Also found in the gallery is a beautiful floor-to-ceiling mural that encompasses the 141 year history of Trego County. Created by local artists, the big, beautiful Western Kansas sky is the backdrop for images of our founding fathers, a steam locomotive, buffalo, and the Cheyenne tribes who roamed the land.

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More Events to Come

Today’s board has planned a year-long celebration with events that will present Trego County’s history from many different perspectives.

On Sunday, June 9th, Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe of the Kansas Sampler Foundation will be presenting a fun, interactive program called “Exploring in Kansas” to tell the tales of their four years touring 626 Kansas communities. Learn about the architecture, art, commerce, cuisine, customs, geography, history, and people they found along the thousands of miles they traveled through our state. Their recent book “Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers” is a guide to preserving and sustaining the rural culture of Kansas. You can pick up a signed copy at the event.

The presentation is co-sponsored by WaKeeney Travel & Tourism and the Trego County Historical Society & Museum. Information about more events to come will be available in May.

Trego County Historical Society

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Trego County Historical Society on Sunday, May 5th from 1pm-4:30pm. It’s a chance to step back in time to the days when our rural communities were just beginning to make their mark on this great land.

Getting to Know the Sunflower State on the “Big Kansas Road Trip”

 

There is much to love about the great state of Kansas—the art and architecture, local cuisine, fun events, and the awe-inspiring landscape that tells the story of the past, present, and future of our state. The Kansas Sampler Foundation has designed a program that encourages Kansans to get out and explore the hidden gems found in the Sunflower State. It’s called the Big Kansas Road Trip, and it’s bringing people from across Kansas right through Trego County to visit three of our Northwest Kansas neighbors.

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The Land and Sky Scenic Byway

The Big Kansas Road Trip (BKRT) is an annual event that puts a spotlight on a three neighboring counties. The 2019 event is focusing on the Land and Sky Byway, taking travelers through the communities and rural areas of Cheyenne, Sherman, and Wallace counties on May 2ndto 5th.

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What You’ll See on the Big Kansas Road Trip

The four-day adventure explores the historical sites, shops, attractions, and scenic roads of Northwest Kansas at your own pace. The red carpet is awaiting you at the many lodging options and restaurants you’ll find along the way, and the BKRT Program Guide will make sure you don’t miss a thing!

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Sherman County (Goodland, Kanorado, Edison) is famous for its celebration of our state flower with its Giant Van Gogh painting, but did you know it’s also the home of America’s first patented helicopter? You’ll find it at Goodland’s High Plains Museum.

You’ll also find the historic 1928 White Eagle gas station, John Deere Grasshopper sculpture, and the Kidder Battle Site where the 1867 massacre of the same name occurred within the county’s borders.

When you get hungry make a stop at Crazy R’s Bar & Grill for their delicious burgers and steaks or King’s Cafe,  which is a great place for home cooking and pastries.

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Cheyenne County (St. Francis, Bird City, Wheeler) offers visitors a chance to experience the amazing beauty of the Western Kansas prairie. Travel to the Arikaree Breaks to see a pint-sized Kansas version of the Grand Canyon, or stand tall at “Three Corners,” where Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas meet. At Cherry Creek Encampment and the Ancient Indian Traders Trail take a moment to reflect on our difficult history with the original people who claimed this prairie as their own.

When your day of exploring comes to an end, stop by the Fresh Seven Coffee at Union Square for a refreshing treat or Big Ed’s Steakhouse for a thick, hand-cut steak dinner.

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Wallace County (Sharon Springs, Weskan, Wallace) is home to Mt. Sunflower, the highest point in Kansas at 4,039-feet. Mechanically-minded people will enjoy visiting the Radiel Wrench Museum, where they’ll find a collection of 10,000 wrenches, and hobbyists of domestic crafts should visit the General Store for bulk food, fabric and sewing supplies, and gifts.

Take a peek into Kansas’s prehistoric story at the Fort Wallace Museum—home to a 40-foot long replica of a plesiosaur fossil discovered in 1867 by the fort’s surgeon. The museum also contains Old West memorabilia and art work that will take you back to the days when legendary Western men, like General Custer, Wild Bill Hickock, and Buffalo Bill Cody, called the fort “The Fightin’est Fort in the West.” And, don’t miss touring the Kansas Pacific Railway’s Superintendent’s Residence. Built in 1879, it is considered to be the finest example of its kind in the West.

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Much, Much More!

There are many more fascinating things you’ll find along the 2019 BKRT route, like Erin’s Food Truck that will be featuring a special menu for the tour. Special events, such as a concert series by Michael Martin Murphey that will occur on May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Check out the Big Kansas Road Trip website for more information.

NOTE: Sherman and Wallace counties observe Mountain Time. Once you’ve entered these counties you are in a time warp, reversing time one hour!

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The “Stump”

You can find out more about the BKRT from program organizers Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe at one of the Kansas Sampler Festival’s “Stump “ events. During the 15-minute question/answer games they will provide more insight into the many things to see and do in the three featured counties. The Stump events are scheduled in seven different communities located in the featured counties and the winner will receive a prize from a Stump sponsor!

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Don’t Forget to Stop by Trego County on Your Trip West!

The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway has its own adventure waiting for you! Take a break during your adventure at the many great restaurants, shops, and attractions located in Trego County.

 

Our Restaurants

We have many notable restaurants serving local delicacies, like bierocks and catfish. Take a seat in the Western Kansas Saloon & Grill, Tropical Mexican Restaurant, Brazen Bull, Mike’s Place, or Jake and Chet’s.

 

Pick up a treat from our local Pizza Hut, Subway, McDonald’s, or Dairy Queen for an on-the-go treat.

 

Satisfy your sweet tooth with a soda or shake at Gibson’s Healthmart’s old-fashioned soda fountain or a cookie at Hometown Bakery.

 

And you’ll want to explore the aisles of Main Street Giftery & Floral, Gibson Health Mart Pharmacy, and Cleland Pharmacy, where you’ll find Kansas-themed gifts and locally made products. You can even memorialize your trip through our county with a turn at the artist’s table at Studio 128 and a bottle of wine from Shiloh Vineyards!

 

Explore our state on the Big Kansas Road Trip this May 2nd-5th! You’ll find surprises, thrills, and great people along the way.

Hop Into Spring Activities in WaKeeney

Spring has sprung and kids everywhere are itching to get outside and into the warm sunshine. WaKeeney is ready for them, with activities that will get them active, excited, and enjoying Trego County’s beautiful Spring days.

Activities in WaKeeney

Annual Easter Egg Hunt (Saturday, April 20th at 10:30am)

The Easter Bunny will be hopping into WaKeeney for the Trego Recreation Center’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt! Groups will be organized by age (6 months to 5th grade) so all our little bunnies will be able to find a few of the candy-filled Easter eggs. Bring your children to the Trego County Courthouse lawn with their Easter baskets and their sweet tooth for this free fun family event, then stick around after the hunt for prize drawings for each age group. 

Activities in WaKeeney

Father Daughter Dance (Sunday, April 14th at 1:30 –2:30pm)

Be your favorite little lady Prince Charming during an afternoon of dancing at the Trego Recreation’s annual Father Daughter Dance.

Activities in WaKeeney

This annual event will be held the Sunday after the TCHS prom, with the decorations of that night as the backdrop to the 2019 Father Daughter Dance. Either dads or another special person may accompany their special girl between 3 years to 5th grade. The event is $20 per couple and $5 for each additional daughter, which includes a corsage, snacks, dancing, and 2-4×6″ photos. (Photos will be taken between 2-3:30pm, plus other options available for purchase).

Sign up by April 5 to reserve your spot, but don’t wait! This event is very popular.

Activities in WaKeeney

Pee Wee Track Meet (Registration ends April 26th, Track Meet is scheduled for May 8th at 5pm)

Pint-sized runners and field sport stars are gearing up to compete at the TCHS T-ball and Trego Recreation’s 2019 Pee Wee Track Meet!

Activities in WaKeeney

Kids will compete in two group at the TCHS Goldsmith Track, preschoolers to 2nd grade and 3rd to 6th grade. Traditional events will be featured, giving the kids a chance to sample various types of competitive events, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place ribbons awarded for each event and all the kids will come away with a participation ribbon to reward them for their great sportsmanship. This is a free event for everyone, so come out and cheer on our young athletes!

Get your kids outside and into the fresh air for a great time running, dancing, and hopping into Spring!

The New Smoky Valley Scenic Byway’s Interpretive Signs Have Arrived in Trego County!

Dive deeper into the history and landscape of the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway at each of our recently installed interpretive panels! Each one tells the story of the historical markers and significant natural features that make our byway a Kansas state treasure.

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An Eight Year Project Becomes Reality

The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway allows travelers to explore the history and landscape of our Northwest Kansas region. They are part of a larger joint effort between several state and tourism agencies to provide more information at 39 tourist attractions on twelve routes located across the state.

In 2010, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) received a $220,000 National Scenic Byway grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for development of the Kansas Byways Interpretive Plan. Using this funding, Fermata, Inc. of Austin, TX began collecting the historical information & developed the storylines for the project.

In 2015, RDG Planning and Design of Omaha, NE began the design phase and, once finished, general contractor GSR Construction, Inc. of Lawrence, KS started working on the construction of the project. WaKeeney’s Travel and Tourism Director Cathy Albert gathered the stories and images included on the panels and in November 2018 the finished panels were installed at points of interest along the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway.

Smoky Valley Scenic Byway Highway Sign

The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway 

Exploring the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway is now easier than ever! The 60-mile, U-shaped loop is one of the easiest routes included in the Kansas byways’ system. With starting points at either Exit 127 in WaKeeney or at Ogallah, Exit 135. If you begin your journey in WaKeeney, we recommend starting at the F-14 Jet in Eisenhower Park, where you’ll find three signs that tell the story of WaKeeney and Trego County.

Interpretive Sign, Eisenhower Park, F-14 Jet

Interpretive Sign, Eisenhower Park, F-14 Jet

Traveling Through the Smoky Valley

For over a hundred years people have been traveling through the Smoky Valley. Early trails brought settlers to our prairies and a few decades later the American love of the road got them out on the highways that followed those same routes.  In 1956, Kansas native President Dwight D. Eisenhower directed his engineers to route his massive interstate project through the Smoky Valley, and, today, I-70 brings people from all over the world to Trego County.

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Settling the Western Smoky Valley and the “Queen City of the High Plains”

Before WaKeeney was the “Christmas City of the High Plains” it wore the crown of a queen. Originally assigned the moniker of “Queen City of the High Plains,” WaKeeney began as a frontier town in 1878 and soon grew to be a center of trade in our county. All this information and much more is detailed on the panel entitled “Settling the Western Smoky Valley.”

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 “The Earth Provides Shelter and Beauty”

Ingenuity has always been a part of the history of the Smoky Valley. Evidence of this is found in the beautiful creamy-white limestone buildings that dot our landscape. Using rock cut from local quarries, our founding fathers created the churches, schools, and civic and government buildings that were the anchors of Trego County communities. Find out more about the sturdy construction and quality materials that were created by these innovative builders on the “Stone Buildings” interpretative panel.

 

Kiosk, 12 miles south of WaKeeney on Hwy 283

The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway 

The kiosk located 12-miles south of WaKeeney on Hwy. 283 features a double-sided informative panel. It features facts and images about the natural beauty you’ll find along the landscape, as well as a replica of a Butterfield Overland Despatch marker. The original markers helped to guide the earliest travelers along a pioneer trail. 

 

Interpretive Signs, Cedar Bluff Reservoir, South of Smoky Hill River Bridge

Cedar Bluff Reservoir and State Park

A favorite stop along the byway is Cedar Bluff Reservoir and State Park. The reservoir and its dam were constructed in 1949 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to provide water for flood control, irrigation, and the region’s water supply, as well as for recreation. Throughout the decades it has become a natural wildlife reserve and popular playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Three interpretative panels placed in the parking area south of Smoky Hill River Bridge tell the story of Cedar Bluff and include a map of the many inlets where camping, fishing, and water sports are enjoyed.

SVSB Kiosk Attractions

The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

Planning Your Trip on the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

Take a trip on the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway and look for our new interpretive signs to learn more about Western Kansas and the history of Trego County!

If you begin your journey in WaKeeney we recommend starting at

  1. F-14 Jet in Eisenhower Park.
  2. Go South 12 miles on Hwy. 283 to the kiosk.
  3. Continue South 14 miles to Hwy. 4 at Ransom.
  4. Turn East and travel 9-miles on Hwy. 4 to Brownell.
  5. Travel North 10-miles on Hwy. 147 to Cedar Bluff Reservoir.
  6. Continue traveling North on Hwy. 147 for 16-miles to end at I-70 in Ogallah, Exit 135.

Each sign provides directions along the route where you can stop and enjoy the wonders of nature, historical sites, and geological wonders of the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway.